Being charged with a crime can include an overwhelming experience. After being accused, the accused may wonder how the process works and the next step.
A misdemeanor charge defines the accused as the culprit of a petty crime. But the costs of the accused of a misdemeanor are the permanent criminal record. Whether charged with a felony or misdemeanor, the accused have certain fundamental rights, and these rights cannot get refused.
The 5th, 6th, and 8th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution deal with giving the right to the accused of fair and just trial proceedings.
What is Misdemeanor?
Misdemeanor, a class of crime, involves crime more severe than an infraction and less severe than a felony. Misdemeanor define accused as the offender of petty theft, prostitution, public intoxication, driving under the influence, disorderly conduct, vandalism, simple assault, vandalism, etc.
The maximum punishment for an accused misdemeanor charge involves one year in county jail or penalty or both. As the accused of misdemeanor crime does not get a more severe sentence, people often don’t take this charge seriously. But such charges stay on your record for the rest of your life. So the accused of a misdemeanor should try to expunge such criminal records.
Click Here to know more about what a misdemeanor is.
What are the Rights of Accused?
Whether charged with a felony (most serious crime) or misdemeanor, the accused have the following rights:
Right to Speedy and Public Trial:
The accused will have the right to get the trial process done speedily. It will reduce the number of days spent in jail. The public trial right prevents the state from having a secret or closed trial.
Right to Impartial Jury:
The involvement of the impartial jury will ensure that the decision is unbiased or prejudiced.
Right to be Informed:
The accused will have the right to get notified of the charge with prior notice. The notice should have the detail and element of the charge.
Right to Confrontation:
The accused will have more chances for a fair trial. In addition, the accused will have the right to cross-question the witness.
Right to Call a Witness:
The accused will have the right to call witnesses to favor him/her.
Right to Assistance for Legal Counsel:
The accused will have the right to have an attorney to represent the case in favor.
The accused shall not get forced to give any statement that may serve proof against him/her in court.
Protection from Double Jeopardy:
It means that the accused cannot be punished twice for the same crime.
Due Process Right:
According to it, the accused shall not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without proper enforcement of the law.
Protection from Cruel or Unusual Punishment:
The accused shall not have unruly or harsh punishment.
Accused Charged with a Misdemeanor Crime and Related Court Proceedings:
The court process gets similar for an accused of misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, and felonies, but there are some essential differences.
- The accused will have to appear in court, and this first appearance is called an arraignment. In this, the accused will notify the charges and the right to have an attorney.
- The accused have the right to plead guilty or not guilty. If the charged plead guilty- the judge will proceed to sentence, and if pleads not guilty- a pretrial hearing will get scheduled.
- During pretrial, the attorneys have discussions and often reach a plea bargain.
- If plea- bargaining does not get reached, the accused will have to appear in court for the trial.
- If the accused is found guilty, the judge will make a sentence accordingly.
- Sentences for misdemeanor crimes are not severe as felonies.
The law defines the accused as the wrongdoer or lawbreaker. The accused have all the rights to ensure that the decision is fair and just. Whether charged with misdemeanor or felony, the accused will have access to all the rights mentioned in the constitution of the U.S.